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Site and Situations


street art both verbally or/and visually, acts interventions in public societies. however street art has revolutionized  people's everyday lives by interacting and experiencing, whether illicit practices or to elicit people to participation.

Many street artists ( depends of their origin) combine their life experience, awareness and  knowledge of societies needs by critic the politician or urban environment in this advertising techniques.

In general terms, street art is both instructive and demonstrative of the culture in which it inhabits. Rarely – with notable exceptions – is the originator formally trained in visual arts disciplines. Street art can function as a sort of ad-hoc modern art installation, assembled in materials specific to the environment of the originator.

While art can be seen as a product of any specific culture and period, street art is perhaps most context-oriented. It is very often a spontaneous reaction to triggers: political upheaval, poverty, or even – in more stable environments – offering political satire. It is far less about a named individual practitioner than about the desired statement to – or on behalf of – a specific audience.

Street art and political graffiti has existed in all advanced urban civilizations – indeed examples exist of its commonplace presence in Roman and Greek/Hellenistic cities. More contemporary street art is often either working parallel to, or emanating from, leftist and radical political tradition. It is no coincidence Karl Marx's Theory of Alienation served as an ideological underpinning to many of the theorists and more established artists involved in movements including the Situationists International.

In contrast to modern art by established artists which often invites the viewer to diagram their own path to an artistic narrative or emotions, ad-hoc street art typically accumulates, or paints/illustrates on, anything on hand to represent a community grievance, cultural mindset or the desire for political change. Jacques Mahé de la Villeglé's 1961 work Jazzmen is in some ways the opposite – a self-identified artist presenting extracts of the environment in which the contributing materials were found, a sort of tapestry of partial vignettes to a world the viewer is given to imagine.

Occasionally, street art becomes iconic, but in the process the original context is diluted – observe the proliferation of images of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara as T-shirts and tattoos, in many cases the wearer being only vaguely aware – if at all – of the identity and history of the subject.

It could be argued that multidisciplinary African-American artist Theaster Gates is a prominent example of an established artist who bridges the worlds of gallery art and the street art. Whether a case of having read Guy Debord's 1955 essay Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, or perhaps more likely having reached an understanding independently through his own life and practice, his example is an unmistakable demonstration of a keen sense of awareness of all of what psychogeography entails. Gates, speaking in the 2016 documentary series Art in the Twenty-First Century, explained that his work features materials (including tar, abandoned posters, old magazines) no longer imagined to have value and that his focus is on “figuring out ways for it to be something in front of you”. These efforts are done in concert with his view that the environment in which people find themselves can influence behaviour and alter levels of violence. Even his radically overhauled home in Chicago follows this narrative – a wooden retreat in a depressed urban setting, an anchor of defiance to decline and local violence, and a repository of African-American music, history and art.

The 2010 paper Symbiotic Postures of Commercial Advertising and Street Art: Rhetoric for Creativity presents another face to the three-dimensional reality of psychogeography. Understanding the countercultural or revolutionary tenor often found in street art, the four contributors argue a place for advertising that fits within this tradition. They seek to define that street art is a “species of advertising”, traditionally substituting a commercial motive for ideological ones. While the reactions of the Debord's Letterists and the Situationists International would very likely be explosively negative to such a conscious commercial thrust, it is difficult to dispute the reality that the skilled advertiser could find a powerful voice – through forms of guerrilla marketing and carefully presented spreads and installations. As they note, “Advertising is a cultural product consumed symbolically by consumers independently of the products being promoted”.

While Guy Debord's writing rails against commercialization, it is clear that the common root of communicating to large numbers of people within a given culture is through a thorough reading of their respective psychogeographical environments – ironically whether this is an attack on the bourgeoisie and commercialization, an effort by American automobile manufacturers to promote their product as a symbol of a successful capitalist lifestyle, or simply to sell Coca-Cola.

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